Thanks! I got it done (...and I'm FEELING IT, too )
Like most of my "tasks" in the garden, this has turned into a big project. There was a "knee fence" in front of the espalier orchard row that had become a nuisance because it was impossible to weed along it. Grass roots were entangling in the bottom of the fence and poison ivy had managed to sneak it's way in, making it even harder to do anything around it.
Once I got out there, I decided that the knee fence just *had* to go. It was incredibly difficult to cut through years of sod build up, avoiding the poison ivy, then once sufficiently cleared, removing every bit of it. But once done, I was able to really get in there and weed under the fruit trees, too. I'll put on some compost and mulch them another day.
Last year, I bought a post hole digging bar on recommendation from someone here. I think they use it to plant with, but I found the bar way too heavy for that. But it has been a joy to use for making pilot holes in the ground for bamboo stakes to T-posts -- much quicker than pounding a rebar (which is too thin to be really effective) into the ground with a hand sledge. But with my hard packed clay subsoil, it requires just the right timing: a day or two after good soaking rain is perfect. The ground becomes soft enough to accept the bar, but not too soft that things will keel over.
Even so, the clay prohibits deep holes -- no deeper than 15-18" or so. I had to balance using extra force to get the bar to dig deeper vs. judging if using all my strength to pull the heavy bar out of the clutches of the sucking wet clay was worth the effort it took for the number of holes I had to make.
You might have noticed that the new tunnel is NOT covering the entire Haybale Row. I couldn't get an appropriately sized net fabric by yardage. I ended up with a pre-cut fleece cover 12ft x10ft. I thought about supplementing the length with another fleece cover or maybe the insect tunnel fabric that I'd cut in half last year for the broccoli/cauliflower beds. But it was too difficult to think about how to seal the overlap. I really didn't feel like sewing them together. Luckily, I mixed the varieties up in the row, so it worked out -- more or less. kind of a bummer that the only Red Kuri didn't make it inside the protective tunnel though....
...It will be good to have some of the vulnerable (C. pepo and C. maxima) squash plants outside of the tunnel, actually, because they can be the "control" subjects in this experiment.